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Twenty-nine Palms Review

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Photographer Denny and his French girlfriend go into the Californian desert for a fashion shoot and the ensuing unforeseen events puts their relationship under the microscope.

★★★★★

Echoes of Antonioni and Hitchcock reverberate hollowly around the cavernous desert spaces in which Bruno Dumont deposits this disappointing existential-alienation road movie. The widescreen vistas are undeniably impressive, but lack the compositional guile that made the long shots in Dumont’s Humanité so intriguing.

Moreover, American photographer David Wissak and French girlfriend Katia Golubeva prove hugely resistible characters, whose grinding love-making and sudden mood swings are compounded by the fact they make little effort to cross their language barriers. It should be a relief when some shocking action intrudes upon their ennui, but the impact merely creates a sense of frustration as they approach their connived conclusion.

Disappointing deconstruction of a cross-cultural relationship.

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